The Houston Texans passed over other needs to take Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz with the first pick in the third round. Tight end was a need, but it was not a big one. I wanted to see the Texans add a tight end before the end of the draft but not over adding a quarterback, running back, slot receiver, right tackle, nose tackle, defensive end, inside linebacker or slot cornerback.
Fiedorowicz will probably be a very solid player, but drafting a blocking tight end in the third round presents terrible value in my opinion. His highest single-season receiving-yard total during his Iowa career was just 433 yards, which came in 2012. Overall, Fiedorowicz totaled just 899 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns over his four seasons with the Hawkeyes.
At 6'6'' and 265 pounds, Fiedorowicz is close to having the size of an NFL offensive tackle, which is basically what he'll be used as in Houston. Fiedorowicz will be used as a run-blocker whenever the Texans employ multiple-tight-end formations.
Coach O'Brien used multiple-tight-end formations quite a bit during his time as offensive coordinator in New England, so I expect to see Fiedorowicz on the field a lot during his rookie season. The Texans only have two quality tight ends on the roster with Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin, so if O'Brien does want to use multiple tight ends, he needed to add one during the draft.
Due to his size, it's no surprise to hear that scouts, like Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, think that Fiedorowicz will be a solid run-blocker in the NFL:
Good versatility, showing the ability to come off a down block to get past defenders as a receiver. Good body control and soft hands for such a large man, traits that have led Washington junior Austin Seferian-Jenkins to earn a lot of attention as a possible first-round pick. Fiedorowicz isn't as flashy as ASJ, but he's just as big and fast in a straight-line and is a much more physical and attentive blocker.
John Harris from The Sideline View points out that the role of a traditional tight end like Fiedorowicz is a dying position:
Newspapers. Home phones. Traditional tight ends. What are things that we used to know? What are things that died in the 2000s? What are things we rarely can find in society in 2014? Okay, so that's a little over the top, I mean, you can find newspapers on a Sunday, no?
I kid, but the point is that a traditional tight end, as those of us in our 30s and 40s remember them to be, aren't often found in college football anymore. But, Iowa had one of the best ones in C.J Fiedorowicz. Back in the early to mid-1990s, Fiedorowicz may have been an early second round pick, but given the NFL's movement seemingly away from the hand in the dirt, lined up at Y, more blocking than receiving tight end, he won't be.
Fiedorowicz will have a role on this team and will likely be a solid player, but I just think that taking a blocking tight end at the top of the third round presented horrible value. I'm on board with the Texans adding a blocking tight end, but it should have been at another spot. If they're sold on Fiedorowicz, that's fine, but they should have traded down and picked up more selections before taking him.